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Published 6th April 2018

Vol 59 No 7


Return of the Jagaban

Bola Tinubu – the Lagos kingmaker – holds the key to plans for President Muhammadu Buhari’s re-election next year

It was smiles all round as the happy band of politicians encircled a giant green and white birthday cake. Centre-stage at this grand party in Lagos on 27 March was President Muhammadu Buhari; on his right was the beaming celebrant – the former governor of Lagos State, Bola Tinubu, marking his 66th birthday.


Salva's bunker mentality

A reshuffle has seen the President promote his kinsmen to shore up his position, but that narrows his base and could weaken him further

President Salva Kiir Mayardit has tightened his control over key finance and security posts by appointing loyalists from his home region. In March, Salva sacked Stephen Dhieu Dau a...

No farewell to arms deals

Two messy prosecution cases involving presidents – South African and French – edge towards their dénouement

The coming trial of Jacob Zuma, the ousted President, could cause diplomatic difficulties as well as local political ructions. Zuma is due in court on 6 April, charged with rackete...


A defence agreement between the New Patriotic Party government and the United States has outraged some nationalists and boosted the opposition National Democratic Congress.
The deal...

A defence agreement between the New Patriotic Party government and the United States has outraged some nationalists and boosted the opposition National Democratic Congress.
The deal gives the US rights to a camp for 200 temporary personnel, free use of radio airspace, tax waivers and freedom from oversight. In return, Ghana will get training and equipment used for the exercise worth about $20 million. The NDC accuses the government of 'selling Ghana's sovereignty to the Americans'.
On 28 March, thousands marched in protest. NDC General Secretary Koku Anyidoho warned on radio that President Nana Addo Akufo-Addo's actions would provoke ‘a civil coup d'état'. He was arrested on suspicion of treason and detained for two nights.
Defence Minister Dominic Nitiwul insists the arrangement is for a camp, not a base, and that it is subject to continuing approval. Leaked documents in the pro-government press show that the deal extends agreements in 1998 under President Jerry Rawlings and 2015 under John Mahama. Neither NDC leader put those agreements before parliament. The row echoes wrangling in 2007 about US plans for its Africa Command, apparently in flux once more under Donald Trump's Presidency. With a massive drone base now in Agadez, Niger, the US is stepping up its security presence in West Africa. That makes Ghanaians of all political persuasions extremely uneasy about the consequences for their own relatively peaceful land.

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Abiy makes a promising start

Expectations are high that the youthful new Oromo Prime Minister can be a unifying force. He's even trying to reconcile with Eritrea

The ruling party took a promising step towards greater stability when it elected Abiy Ahmed, the head of its Oromia wing, as its new Chairperson and Prime Minister on 27 March.

Funds for all the family

Parliament is at odds with the executive. Cash is coursing through the chamber as proxies of foreign states fight for supremacy

Until mid-February, Mogadishu's parliament had been in recess while the government went about its business. So controversial was the business that Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire...

Enemies without and within

The President’s authoritarian measures are meeting increasing resistance, but he is set on his course and has made ugly threats against dissenters

Half-way through his first term, President John Pombe Magufuli is under pressure. Facing a mainstream political threat from the opposition Chama cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (Chadem...

Into the valley of debt

Edgar Lungu's government has no plans to stop spending, but the amount that it owes is rapidly growing beyond control

Demands for clarity on Zambia's national debt are intensifying, as the standoff with the International Monetary Fund continues and senior figures in government fear a Zimbabwe-styl...

Doubts about unity deal

Elections are planned to fill the power vacuum, but they will have to overcome the poisonous faction-fighting

General Khalifa Haftar's forces control the east, but have not marched on Tripoli and show little sign of doing so. Government of National Accord (GNA) Prime Minister and Presidenc...

Vaz defies sanctions

As Ecowas tries to intervene, the standoff between the President and the reformist wing of his own party drags on

President José Mário Vaz's conflict with members of his own party and with West African and other international bodies is no nearer resolution, despite fresh attempts to pressure h...

Migration tests 'partnership'

Fast-changing expectations among developing countries and the EU will complicate the renegotiation of the Cotonou Agreement

The European Union begins talks later this year on a successor to the Cotonou Agreement, its partnership agreement with 78 African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) states signed in Cot...


UK leans to Mnangagwa

Britain may be breaking ranks with donors and creditors over conditions for restoring Harare's access to finance. The International Monetary Fund continues to take a firm line, ins...